Jane, I hatched some standard Cornies in September. They don't lay many eggs, and since I've been collecting them all can't say whether they are good mothers or not. The cockerel is active and protective of "his girls". The birds have barely any wattles, and are peacombed, so they don't get frostbitten tips. They are hard-feathered, so it's unlikely that the pullets could set a clutch that's really large.
If you get Cornish, be sure not to confuse them with "cornish-rocks", a fast-growing hybrid that doesn't breed true, and are specifically for small meat birds. I've not had them, but don't think they'd be a good choice for the backyard owner.
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